A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sew Day, No Snow Day

The Mid-Atlantic certainly has some cool temperatures bearing down, but very little snow (or none) in our neck of the woods. However, cool temps gets the juices flowing for sewing and it was a bonus bee day today (5th Wednesday) to let those machines hum along and the projects start up again.

While glancing through the harp of my machine, there is Susie Stevenson, our hostess with the "mostess," sitting at the opposite end of the table and making her machine sing as well. So thankful for my bee and the awesome women that they all are!



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

London Lads

Don't you think there is a "process time" once back from an "adventure" vacation? Once the jet lag is gone, and your thoughts are full of gratefulness for the trip itself, reflecting on the experience brings a huge smile across your face that is undeniably exquisite.

And although the temperatures were rather cool with everyone wearing thick down coats, I could detect a fashionable bourgeois, including the children. My photo today (sorry it's a little blurred), shows the young lad fashionably dressed with the cap the same as his pop's.

Everyone "minded the gap"...including this young chap!



Monday, January 28, 2019

AAA to the Rescue

I am very grateful that I have been a AAA member since age 16, as it has definitely "paid off" on several occasions with the various vehicles owned through the years. Their service for changing tires, helping with break-downs on highways, byways and driveways, (in any type of weather), plus battery jumps and tows to a service station is unquestionably the best deal in town!

Today was one of those days that one of our cars would not start (dead battery, and hopefully that is all) and parked in the garage. It's a hybrid with a funky way to jump-start it so it was best to have it towed (their suggestion). A simple call to AAA this morning (plus renewing our membership until 2020); and, by golly, a tow truck was in my driveway in 30 minutes to transport it to our local service station. And I must admit, they have been delivering that great customer service for over 100 years - since 1902 to be exact!

Who remembers those awesome TripTiks with the indispensable maps? I loved those things and flipping the pages over while we traveled the miles to reach the final page and the final destination. If you went into an AAA office back in the day, a kind lady would highlight the trip in a green or yellow highlighter.

BSoleille! The bright side of a shout of Thanks to our local AAA for providing their continued excellent service!


Sunday, January 27, 2019

One of the "Newest" International Traveler

Several months ago as we were planning the family trip to London, son Ryan was "on the fence" in going abroad, as well as getting a passport. He, thankfully, muscled through the process of obtaining his first passport and the gumption for "world" travel across the pond. I am here to report he was a great travel companion and never complained one bit! He even "exclaimed" that this trip would be his "only" international trip...until he went, conquered the trip and now would like to visit more countries! I thought he'd never get that proverbial travel bug, but by golly, maybe so.

I think he has designs on saving up for another trip somewhere....



Photo of Ryan and the Red Phone Booth across the street from Westminster Abbey.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

#Celebrating Others with Nicola Quilter of London

While our trip to London mostly included "window shopping", we did happen upon an indoor/outdoor market at Covent Garden that had a lot of vendors from the local people. One vendor, Nicola Quilter, by name alone...Quilter... I had to check out her merchandise. I found that I was drawn to explore her entire booth that encompassed her signature look of vibrant and colorful flowers on mostly black skirts (she also does embroidery on coats as well). All her embroidery designs are originals and they are spectacular!

As I continued to admire her very cute designs, we began a discussion about quilting, her surname Quilter, and how she designs and got into the business. The first thing she mentioned is that she sews her vibrant embroidery patterns on a Bernina Sewing machine. She then stated that she began making the skirts 17 years ago, and today, has expanded her business to include six associates that sew, embroider and sell the skirts in multiple London locations (not all on the same day). Prior to selling at markets in and around London, Nicola said she sold her merchandise wholesale, but prefers meeting her customers "the old-fashioned" way as in an outdoor market setting.

Although my mini-interview with Nicola was garnered through trying on a couple skirts (she helped me slip them over my head because I had on layered clothing), we worked it to get the right size for me just in case I would purchase one.) As we continued to talk, I was mentally trying to decide which one I liked best to purchase, and kept going back and forth on a couple of favorites.

But as the idea of visiting this super cute outdoor market, and Nicola being a local London artist, I finally decided that I would not only buy one skirt, but two.

In case you plan on visiting London, definitely check out the Covent Garden area and say 'hello' to Nicola Quilter...especially if you are a quilter! To check out Nicola's creations: http://www.nicolaquilter.com/



Thursday, January 24, 2019

London Day #6 and Top Ten Takeaways

We are safely home and Day #6 (was yesterday) and a fairly long travel day with strong head winds extending the ride a bit. But nonetheless, it was all well worth it and we had a wonderful time in the "Kingdom."

Our Top Ten Takeaways of the trip:

1) #MindTheGap - it's the thing that sticks in your brain after riding the tube "train" for many trips and that's what they say getting on and off.

2) In addition to the above, the tube is the most efficient and affordable method of transportation and the only mode of moving around the city that we used for the entire trip (no need for car).

3) The entire country is super passionate about their football - bar none. I witnessed an usher ask a young boy to either remove his hat or turn it inside out (colors/team name on beanie hat for the opposing team) so he would not be "penalized" by the crowd (and he was with his parents to boot!).

4) Lots of smoking....

5) Due to "bone-chilling" cold and dampness, down coats are ubiquitous (the Canada Goose brand was very noticeable and they are very expensive at about $1000 a pop). (We layered and walked fast and felt fine with the cool temperatures).

6) Excellent and super fun pubs everywhere (with great draft and craft beers). Also, great shopping!

7) This big spread out city still had a lot of tourists...even in mid-January (though no lines at the Tower of London, and we were basically all alone in the room with the Crown Jewels).

8) Black is the "main" color choice in clothing and winter garb for the Londoners.

9) Lots of walking to a tune of over 10 miles a day/ 50+ miles for the five days

10) We would love to return someday and see a "little more" of this dynamic city that oozes charm and history beyond measure. #thankful and #blessed



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

London Day #5

Hello! It was all about the "hello" (channeling Ms. Adele) and the fun phone booths scattered throughout London, plus the outstanding visit to the Tower of London and all its "bloody" history. The Crown Jewels definitely worth the price of admission (22 pounds buying online the day before). Our Beefeater guy was cute, funny, and a loyal member (of 37 total) of the Royal Army dedicated to the protection of The Queen (not kidding, those Beefeater guys are serious chaps). 

Shopping (window) on Oxford/Regent Streets, plus a last pub stop with locals (only beer/no food) rounded out a spectacular day in this effervescent city we’d like to visit again. 

Like Bill says: you can do anything but you can’t do everything!  



Monday, January 21, 2019

London Day #4

As many can attest to, and have traveled to, these old roads of London and their environs, has way too much to do and see. A week or less (our category) is simply not "enough time."  However, we are all grateful for the opportunity to travel for a spell and really, just scratch the surface. 

First thing on the agenda today was touring another "palace", the Stamford Bridge Stadium, home of the Chelsea Football Club. What we’ve learned is that these football/soccer clubs are steeped in rich tradition(s) dating back to the 1880’s, though Chelsea formed their club in 1905. Whole communities showed their "colors" for their teams and revered their players through thick and thin. It was an amazing morning, and tickled for Bill, "The Best Daughter" and Ryan taking it all in. 

After lunch, we headed over to The Tower of London/London Bridge and strolled through that area (got there too late to tour so going back tomorrow), and also snuck in a quick visit to Harrod’s. One more full day in this historic city!



Sunday, January 20, 2019

London Day #3

There are "palaces" and then there are "palaces"; football palaces, if you will. We were thankful to stroll by the "traditional" palaces of Kensington and Buckingham, along with the thrill of being immersed into the Arsenal "Palace" (yesterday), and today at the Craven Cottage "Palace."  

The passion and history associated with many of the football (soccer) teams goes beyond anything like other sports the world over. The "fixtures" are electric, the players skilled and swift beyond measure, and the fans chant and sing throughout most of the match. 

Today’s match was another London derby with Tottenham Hotspurs beating out the home team, Fulham Whites, 2-1 (scoring the winning goal in stoppage time in the 93rd minute). It was considered by the fans a "gutting" loss, but we were happy to sit and cheer on the home team!

Other touring around London rounded the fun day (Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, though closed on Sunday, and walking and admiring all the beautiful sights). 

Dinner with our friend Greg Lubin (in London working on a romantic comedy movie) finished our day. #grateful



Saturday, January 19, 2019

London Day #2

Since I only have WiFi capabilities here in London (did not want to pay the $10/day like other folks I traveled with to have service), I had to wait until the end of the day to post. 

But I’m thankful it was a great one starting with a meet-up with Clarice Lin (hubby Bill met her through various social media platforms) for breakfast, and then finishing the day at the sold out Arsenal (Emirates) Stadium with the clash of rivals: Arsenal vs. Chelsea. The home team came up with the huge win, 2-0, which helps Arsenal catapult to the Champions league later this summer. 

The fixture (game) was super exciting and everything seemed surreal for our very first English Premier match. The air was electric with chants and singing (the entire crowd); and the lightning fast football from the start to finish was unbelievable. I’m so incredibly thankful to share this experience with my family!



Friday, January 18, 2019

London Day #1

Getting our land legs back and bearings on our location (Airbnb) in London were the top priorities today. After a short nap, the cool temperatures with some sunshine helped make the "strolls" through Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and viewing (from the outside) Kensington Palace all worthwhile. 

We "completed" our day dining in an English pub: Earls Court Tavern that lived up to the pub experience that seems to be "all the rage" while here. 

One thing we found so far, everyone has been super nice and we’ve been greeted with warm hospitality from the flight, through customs, to the tube, to the restaurants and our Airbnb. 

There is Adventure Around Every Corner!



Thursday, January 17, 2019

And We’re Off to London 

A bucket list item for hubby Bill is to attend an EPL (English Premier League) in London, England. His big "6-0" was last month, but the trip to celebrate is now and were thrilled that the entire family is along for the ride! (I’m hoping my ear drums won’t burst!). 

Fun fact, it’s Bill’s and Ryan’s very first international trip and, for all of us, our first trip to United Kingdom. 

Looking forward to the fixtures (games) this coming weekend! Go Tottenham, Fulham, Arsenal and Chelsea!! May the best teams win. 



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

That "Cough" and Cold....

It seems everywhere you go people are coughing and battling a cold. It's ubiquitous across Maryland, and I know Ohio too. It's bad this year and we haven't been into winter (officially) a month yet. I certainly hope anyone and everyone battling some form of a cold (and God forbid, the flu) quickly recovers and are back on their feet soon. I can't remember the last time a "cold" had me laid out for four days! How can that be??

But...I am thankful to have recovered some energy today and was able to catch a very interesting sunset. It's like a painting I thought.



Monday, January 14, 2019

Technology and "Man’s Search For Meaning"

A bad bad cold could not stop me from "attending" our neighborhood book club compliments of "conference" capabilities on the phone. Having the call on speaker worked splendidly (thank you, Mary Kay Carlo) and, of course, this is nothing new but oh so wonderful in using the technology that is right at our fingertips. 

In addition, I couldn’t miss the discussion on one of the most quintessential books of "our time": "Man’s Search For Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life. And, most importantly, having a positive attitude certainly helps as we travel through the ups and downs of our collective lives. 

If you’ve read the book, you know how powerful a read it is, if you haven’t read it, I suggest to place it on your 2019 reading list. 

"Human life, under any circumstances, never ceases to have meaning. 



Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Fly Inside the Lampshade...

The snow is flying, the temperatures are in the low twenties, and yet I noticed a lonely fly swirling around a lampshade this afternoon. At first I thought I was "seeing things" until it circled a hundred times and never left the shade. I was even able to "cozy" up to the shade and take a photo of this crazy fly. Since I haven't seen a fly since late summer, how could this be?



Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Scent of Snow...It's January!

All morning into the early afternoon, the skies were "cooking" to bring snow to the Mid-Atlantic. Thankfully, I was on the pitch with two games (girls today), and we got the games in unscathed of no precipitation. But the "scent" of a snow was certainly lingering in the air and that the predicted accumulation was only a few hours away. Fast forward to the evening, and sure enough, the skies opened up to the white stuff started coming down.




Friday, January 11, 2019

One-Legged Lamp

If you guessed from my post title the movie "A Christmas Story" (based in Cleveland, Ohio) on where the one-legged lamp became a "household" name and on the "map", you guessed correctly. So when I walked into my, friend, Donna Norris's, home this evening, right from the front door I spotted the illustrious lamp. It's the big one and a very nice one at that. I had to marvel how statuesque it is, and had to inquire where she had gotten it (she's from Maryland).

It so happens that her husband does electrical work for local theatre companies in the area, and of course, as a volunteer. But for this particular company, The Pasadena Theatre Company, her husband was also in the cast. He did double duty and the director thanked him for all his hard work (behind the scenes, and in the scenes) with this "world famous" one-legged lamp! Wow, what a thoughtful gift for sure.



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

#CelebratingOthers - "Go With the Flow" with Russ Little - Fiber Artist

I have had a lot of "crazy" juju going on in my life lately, and quilting has always been my "center" to get me back to that even keel feeling...especially that unexplainable "sewjo" most quilters get when their machine and their projects are humming along nicely.

So when Russ Little, a local fiber artist, was invited to speak at our quilt guild tonight, I was glad to attend (my/our plans to travel to Ohio this evening (sorry, Linda Misencik) got canceled due to various unforeseen issues). He had just the right "mojo" or "Go With the Flow" attitude to get me (and perhaps other folks) out of a not-so-good-zone, to one that we'd like to get those creative juices flowing once again. Russ's work in his various art forms (quilting, painting, mixed media fiber art and wearable art) are truly amazing, and he meticulously walked us through the various steps he takes to get that reachable flow going in the right direction with his beautiful creations. It was, hands down, the proverbial shot in the arm to, at least, get NeedleOnFull back in the saddle and work!

Russ even commented on how to promote flow, which is basically learning and practice; take a look at our environment (eliminate distractions for one); find new and interesting projects; make honest assessments on your skills and definitely nurture self care. He has a great perspective on the spirituality of art and how that can effect the work or project at hand, trusting that all will go well in the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation tonight and gained a lot of insight, not only of Russ's artistic endeavors and what make him "flow", but the way he set forth in challenging each and every one of us by helping us decide to create when we can and stick to a "plan." This, in turn, will allow that project to turn out the best it can be. And that is something to be truly grateful for.

Please click on Russ's link to learn more about Russ and his awesome work! He has a fantastic website:

You can also meet Russ and his beautiful wearable art at our upcoming Quilt Show; March 23, 24, 2019 at Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Fiber Artist, Russ Little!


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

High "Meetings" is For the Birds

Sometimes we all have to look up and catch a glimpse of those birds on the high wires. They must love the view from that crazy perch, or perhaps it's a great meeting place so know one else butts in to their "conversation(s)." And they seem so orderly, or are they just resting? It's not like they are in some tree out of sight, rather, right there in the elements of the day for all to see. I'm always under the impression that there is a bird leader in that mix; and like the saying goes...."birds of a feather, flock together."



Monday, January 7, 2019

Remote Control(s)

Remember when the remote control was the kid sister or brother? They were kind of "forced" to get off the sofa to change the channel (and there was a whopping three to choose from...) because that's the way it was. Those kid sisters or brothers were lucky if someone just happened to be walking into the TV room that would be nice enough to switch channels for them. It was then a "miracle", or perhaps, a "godsend" when the remote was easily accessible and got into the hands of the masses around the world.

So, how many remotes does one need nowadays? To work one TV, we may need two or three (that's including the easily lost Apple TV remote that is as big as a stick of gum, and gets buried in the quilts/blankets/cushions. While visiting over the holidays, I noticed seven remotes for what it looked like one TV, though I cannot be sure. What I can say is that is surely a lot of remotes, and I would be very confused in trying to find the right one to turn on the doggone "thing" for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of choosing the correct remote!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

"Manicured" Turf Soccer Fields at Indian Creek Upper School

Winter soccer leagues have started up in the state of Maryland, and this weekend saw lots of action by several local teams. I am thankful to be able to run around and referee these "fast and furious" games; six total for the weekend (all boys games from U13's to U18's) and 20+ miles of running over the course of the two days (which averaged about 3.5 miles/game).

My sixth game was coached by "The Best Daughter's" Club Coach, Tony McPeak, so it was a kind of "reunion" for both of us. His son, Anthony, was the goalkeeper at this U13 game and did a fantastic job in goal. Unfortunately they lost, but I loved to see him and all the kids playing their hearts out to the final whistle; win - lose- or draw.

BSoleille! The bright side of Youth Soccer, "manicured" turf fields and the "beautiful game" matches throughout the weekend.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

A "Clean Slate" in 2019

As a consummate surface hog, I’ve got to admit, I do like a clean surface. It’s rare in my house, so when I cleaned and cleared the kitchen island of "stuff", I knew a photo was "mandatory" to make me realize it can be done. I’d say there was something on that surface in a few short minutes after I took the picture! I do love that gleaming space...



Friday, January 4, 2019

#CelebratingOthers with John Kozlowski - and His "Hidden Talent" with JKSInlays

I am thankful to start my second year of (mostly) Friday blogposts in #CelebratingOthers. This week, I'd like to introduce you to John Kozlowski, 53, who recently gave himself "permission" to identify himself as an "artist" or "craftsman" due to the most beautiful wood creations he started as a hobby not even a year ago (photos below).

I met John and the Koz family in the spring of 2007 when his daughter joined my daughter's club soccer team: The Freestate Phoenix (Pheen). We had an "instant" connection with our Polish upbringing because John grew up with the same traditions as me, though John in Buffalo, NY, and me in Cleveland, Ohio. Both our parents spoke Polish around their respective kids, who did not know the language, of course (this was especially true around Christmas!) but perhaps tried to figure out a wee bit what they were saying at times.

John (who coincidentally as the same initials as JFK) was born and raised by his parents in Buffalo, NY, along with three sisters and one brother. He was educated in the Buffalo Public Schools and then attended University at Buffalo majoring in Electrical Engineering; graduating in 1987. Since jobs were scarce in Buffalo in 1987, John decided to move to Maryland where he landed a government job in IT/Security and stayed on the job for 10 years. He then switched to the private sector (for over 20 years), the last nine years at CACI.

In 1990, John married Angie (met at work), and they have two children, a daughter, 26; and a son, 23. They currently live in Ellicott City, Maryland. When I asked John what makes him "tick"; he replied being a good husband and father and supporting his family. John certainly has done that and so much more (he has a lovely wife and great kids...just saying!) So, when I asked John what was the best gift he ever received, John replied that meeting and marrying his wife Angie, and having two children together has been the best gift ever!

Lately, John is totally inspired by his woodworking and the fact he is making something tangible with his hands. He mentioned that he has never been the "creative" type, but from the looks of his work, and the fact he can figure out the equipment to work on his projects https://foundery.com/, he is doing fabulous work! (That engineering degree is still paying dividends...)

John added that woodworking, and working with all the very expensive, but fun, equipment at The Foundery certainly gets his creative juices flowing. It's really an outlet from his day job as well. He also has plans to investigate "all" the other equipment in the shop because he is interested in a lot of the trades "offered" and the craftsmanship that goes with each one. As one can see, John likes to be handy, and it was his father's handyman skills that piqued John's interest from a young age, and now, parlayed into a great hobby today.

Lastly, John revealed that The Foundery in Baltimore, Maryland, is a Maker's Space and a growing trend of a "community share" where there are classes in woodworking, metal arts, CNC machines, blacksmithing, welding, powercoating, and embroidery. He even said there are a few guys who are managing a furniture business right out of that shop! But check it out if you are local, and if not, there is probably something like The Foundery in every big city.

To check out more of John's work, check his Instragram -  JKSInlays or he can be reached at JKSInlays@gmail.com

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with John Kozlowski and JKSInlays

Photos of John's work below:

John working on the CNC machine.
JKSInlays - coaster (Mug made by Frank Rucky)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

That "Someday" Fabric

As a quilter, we love fabric, and consequently buy "a lot" of it for that "someday" project. Typically its purchased for the ideas we have swirling around our heads, or we have a viable pattern we'd like to try, perhaps, ahem, someday...

Well, I am happy to report that today was that "someday" for the candy cane fabric my bee-mates, plus me, purchased as couple of years ago at Obie's (thanks, Mary Nielsen who started the trend). I had sworn off making any more Christmas quilts a few years ago, but, those same quilts left a lot of scraps that began screaming at me to use up. Sew...a few days ago we had our annual sew day, and that's where I began going through those scraps.

Today, while hosting my bee, I continued to work on the same scrap quilt, and finished the top a couple hours ago. I'm trilled to have used up a lot of those scraps, but there always "seams" to be more in the stash that I simply can't get to.

BSoleille! The bright side of today being a "someday."


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

From my family to yours, here's wishing you a wonderful and healthy new year!

BSolielle! The bright side of starting my eighth year of Quilts From the Heart (thank you, Don!)